…Govt says enforcement be total, provides livelihood support for willing riders

Infinity Tyres

From Thursday 1 September – 14 days away – commercial motorcycles (well known as okada) will be outlawed in four more Local Government Areas (LGAs) and six Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) of Lagos State.

The existing ban on okada is on six LGAs and nine LCDAs, meaning that the commercial motorcycles will no longer be allowed to operate in 10 LGAs and 15 LCDAs.

With the state having 20 LGAs and 37 LCDAs, the ban will not affect 10 LGAs and 22 LCDAs from 1 September.

On Thursday, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu directed enforcement teams to fully implement the proscription order and bust erring riders across the councils listed in the okada ban order.

The additional places are Kosofe, Oshodi-Isolo, Somolu, and Mushin LGAs, while the LDAs are Ikosi-Isheri, Agboyi-Ketu, and Isolo, Bariga, and Odi-Olowo.

The existing ban captures Eti-Osa, Ikeja, Surulere, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, and Apapa LGAs, and all the nine LCDAs in their jurisdiction.

Announcing the ban at a press conference held at the Government Secretariat in Alausa, Ikeja, Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladehinde said the extension of the proscription order was a move by the state government to sustain the gains recorded in the ongoing action against okada operations in the state.

He said okada accidents and fatalities had reduced by 63.7 percent across the 15 local councils where the first phase of the ban had been enforced, stressing that the development also significantly brought down the rate of crimes associated with motorcycles.

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This, Oladehinde said, led to resolutions reaching a Stakeholders’ Forum last Tuesday in which interest groups unanimously urged the government to make the okada ban state-wide.

He said: “The Ministry, in conjunction with the inter-ministerial committee on okada, having critically accessed these resolutions and the challenges of okada operations on the security architecture of the state, recommended to Mr. Governor not to go back on the already laid down phase ban in a bid to sustain the gains.

“Based on the apparent positive impact of the ban and the resolution of the Stakeholders’ Forum, Mr. Governor has approved the ban of okada in another four LGAs and their respective five LCDAs for the second phase of the total ban, in addition to the on-going ban in the six LGAs and their respective LCDAs”.

The government advised residents to embrace alternative means of transportation for their journey, noting that the state had provided a safe and sustainable First- and Last-Mile Transport Scheme, BRT Scheme, e-hailing taxi scheme, and other acceptable means for the safety of commuters.

Oladehinde disclosed that 7,500 motorcycles had been impounded and crushed in the ongoing enforcement, while resistance had dropped sharply. He issued a stern warning to riders who might want to flout the proscription order, stressing that the enforcement would not be spared.

The Commissioner said the state government had interventions in place to empower the affected okada riders as an alternative means of livelihood. He urged them to embrace the intervention programs which are being coordinated by six government ministries and also the state’s Employment Trust Fund.

He said: “It is important to reiterate the state government’s commitment to the safety, security of lives and property in the state. In exercising this, any motorcycle impounded will be crushed and the process will be made public.

“Both riders and passengers arrested on proscribed routes will be made to face the full wrath of the law in line with the provision of Section 46, sub-section 1, 2, and 3 of the Transport Sector Reform Law, 2018″.

Information and Strategy Commissioner, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso observed that last Tuesday’s meeting with stakeholders reviewed the enforcement action taken since the total ban, pointing out that the feedback from the public informed further measures to curtail the activities of the commercial motorcycles.

He said okada riding remained alien to the state’s integrated transportation master plan.